Canine Coronavirus is a highly contagious viral disease that infects the small intestines of dogs, and puppies that are younger than six weeks of age are especially vulnerable.
It can cause nausea, a lack of appetite, vomiting, as well as its most common symptom, diarrhea.
The real danger with this virus is that it makes puppies much more susceptible to Parvovirus.
If this does occur and a puppy gets both viruses at the same time, they have very little chance if surviving.
However, it has also muted into a second form of a threat to dogs: canine respiratory coronavirus.
As a result, this mutation is now one of the leading causes of respiratory disease in dogs as well.
This mutation was originally discovered in the United Kingdom and has now spread to Europe, Japan, as well as all of North America.
Canine Coronavirus, which is also known as CCV or Corona, is the second leading cause of diarrhea in puppies, directing behind Parvovirus.
However, unlike the much more sinister Parvovirus, it is not considered to be life threatening unless it becomes severe.
Although it is not nearly as well-known as Parvovirus, it has been around for several decades in its original form.
Most all domestic adult dogs when tested will show antibody titers, which indicates that at some point in their life they have either been exposed to Coronavirus or actually had it.
This form of virus attacks the small intestines and replicates what is referred to as villi in your dog.
These are small finger-like protrusions that extend out of the wall of your dog’s small intestine.
Once this attack occurs, it damages the villi and as a result of this damage, causes lesions.
Once the lesions develop, it affects your dog’s ability to digest food as they are the main mechanism in their small intestine that assists with the absorption of nutrients.
Since Canine Coronavirus has been so widespread in the dog population for so many years, the risks are usually quite small.
Most adult dogs have built a natural immunity to the virus, and as a result, the symptoms are usually very mild and may go completely unnoticed by most owners.
The real risk is to puppies as well as the muted form that is now causing respiratory illness in adult dogs.
However, if an adult dog’s immune system is compromised, it can still be a very dangerous virus.
By far and away the most common symptom of this virus in dogs is diarrhea. Vomiting can occur in severe forms as well as in puppies, but in adult dogs it is not very common.
Although the diarrhea is usually much less profuse than it is with Parvovirus, there is no way to tell the difference in which virus your dog has until it is tested by your veterinarian.
Because of this, it is quite frequently confused with the more deadly form as the extreme odor it produces is just as bad.
Canine Coronavirus and its symptoms should be treated with the same sense of urgency, simply because of the inability to differentiate between the two.
Both viruses can last for several days and the only real way to tell the difference other than testing is in the mortality rate that results.
There is, however, one thing for certain with Coronavirus; if it is combined with even the mild forms of Parvovirus in puppies, the mortality rate is about 90 percent.
Canine Coronavirus is spread through either a fecal or oral pathway into your pet. It is not affected or slowed down by your dog’s acidity in their stomach, and it does not affect their colon.
It has one major target in your dog; their small intestines. Once it enters their body, it goes directly to this target.
It has another similarity to Parvovirus, in that it remains in the shedding process for several months.
The actual virus stays in the feces of an infected dog between six and ten days, but can be shed from an infected animal for as long as six months.
Canine Coronavirus, just like Parvovirus, has no effective form of treatment.
However, it will be extremely important, especially with puppies, to keep them as hydrated as possible.
This may require force feeding or utilizing specially prepared fluids that your veterinarian can induce either under their skin or intravenously.
Vaccines are available to protect against this virus, and it should be a regular part of your puppies vaccination process.
However, there is some good news with Coronavirus; it is much easier to disinfect than Parvovirus. It is a single stranded RNA type of virus that has a fatty type of protective coating.
Because of this coating, it is very easy to inactivate and detergent or any solvent type of disinfectant can easily kill it.
Breeding houses, grooming clinics, as well as kennels can effectively fight this form of virus much easier than Parvovirus.
Canine Coronavirus should still be treated very seriously, especially with puppies. Once your dog or puppy has been affected, you will need to rest them until they regain their full strength.
You should immediately pick up feces, especially if you have other dogs.
Encourage water intake to the point of irritating you dog, as proper hydration is critical.
Once the diarrhea and vomiting has stopped, slowly give them a bland diet until they regain full strength.
Most dogs as well as puppies will fully recover in a matter of weeks as this is not the killer virus that Parvovirus is.